December 20, 2014
I love Biola University. I have learned through my Bible classes here to not toss words around lightly. For instance, that meal in the Cafeteria was not awesome, only God is awesome. Similarly, “Love” is a powerful word that should not be tossed around. But I can say that I LOVE Biola!
Biola has absolutely changed my life; and continues to do so every day. It has been shaping me, teaching me, inspiring me, and breaking me in all the ways you would want to be broken. It has been edifying me, equipping me, challenging me, serving me, pursuing me, and most importantly, loving me. This university has been instrumental in my growth from a new Christian to a passionate lover of Jesus.
My Christian life only began two and a half years ago, alone in my room. It was during the summer of 2010, and what a glorious night that was! Instead of swallowing fifty pills to end my life, I bowed the knee to whomever this Jesus was that people called Lord. The twenty years of my life prior to that point were concerned with chasing idols. Life was empty, but I strived to fill it with any pleasure I could find. I thought I found the meaning of life my senior year of high school, when the glory and approval of man became real to me. My basketball coach told me before my season that year that I should reconsider playing football this season. “After all,” he said, “You could get hurt, Andre, and I was planning to build the team around you this year.”
Around me? I loved that idea. I loved it so much that I didn’t just think it was a good basketball strategy but I thought it sounded like a great strategy for life. Build everything around me. The best part was that when I came back to school for my senior year, people were playing along with that! I finally got my braces off and had hit the weights that summer, so unlike the three years before, when I was still growing into my body (commonly known as goof), now the girls noticed me. Even the local newspapers were playing along with the “around me” way of life, covering my successes as I led my team to a 26-2 record, ranked 3rd in the entire county.
Unfortunately I found my way into the newspapers for something different just a year later, in April 2009, after I had just finished my first season of college basketball. I went to a party and ended up in an altercation with someone I had never met. He was looking for trouble, and I was there to meet the challenge. Within minutes, I was lying on the front lawn, and steadily losing any hope that I was going to make it past the age of 19 years old. I was stabbed in my chest at that party, and the blade collapsed my lung and it scratched my heart. I was in critical condition for a week, underwent five surgeries and spent months on bed rest. God kept me alive by 1 mm, the size of a mustard seed.
Instead of being thankful to be alive, I fell into a drug addiction, deep self-pity, and I lost my scholarship and was kicked out of the university I was attending. This all led me to back my room alone in the summer of 2010. I was broken, but oh how blessed was that brokenness, because it led me to surrender. I gave my life to Christ then and became a Christian. In the words of Elihu in the 36th chapter of Job: “God delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ears by adversity.”
After that, I knew I needed a reboot. I was a newborn baby Christian who needed spiritual milk so that I would not be tossed to and fro by every wind and wave of doctrine. When I got a call from Biola’s basketball coach, Dave Holmquist, I knew Biola was the place for me. Instead of a utilitarian conversation, as is common in the sports world, Coach Holmquist genuinely cared about how I was doing and wanted to know how he could pray for me. I was shocked, but could tell right away that the priorities of this place were different. This was where I needed to be to grow into a mature Christian.
Biola’s impact has been invaluable to me because it is committed to the word of God! The professors and staff here don’t just teach and work on behalf of their students, but they love and care for them. I have been blessed with the joy of receiving such love. I am a Bible major and love getting to take so many classes with the amazing Bible professors here. These men have become my personal friends, and some of them my fathers in the faith. Most important of all, though, and preceding all else, is the fact that Biola has taught me who Jesus is! I’m getting to know God through my classes and interactions with the people here. By the Spirit of God, I’m being freed more and more everyday from the tendencies I still have to make life revolve “around me,” by being taught that this world and all it’s purposes revolve “around Him!”
CCT Pastor-in-Residence Kirk Winslow shares about how his experience with CCT has equipped him for his ministry among adults who are disenchanted with the Church.